Disclaimer: I don't own the Hardy Boys, not making any money, just cheap thrills.
Warnings: Angst, disturbing imagery, innuendo, violence
Summary: It was meant to bring them business. A regional magazine, a small article and their new agency would gain attention and clients. Attention it brought!
"I can't believe you did that Joe," Frank slammed the office door. Storming past a stunned Ethel Radley the elder Hardy made a beeline for his private office.
"Oh come on Frank," Joe called after him. "Hi Ethel," he said in passing as he hurried after his brother.
Ethel wondered, not for the first time, if coming to work for the younger detectives had been such a good idea. Surely remaining a housewife wouldn't have been so bad. She shook her head. The offer from Fenton's sons had been a godsend. Never having children of her own she had become bored as a housewife, especially with her husband often away working on cases with his own partner.
Unfortunately spending years building a home for her and Sam hadn't given her many marketable skills. She had been considering volunteering as Laura did when Frank and Joe had decided to open their own agency rather than continuing to work for their father. Knowing Ethel had helped Sam with his files occasionally and needing a secretary they could trust they asked her if she would be interested in the job. Ethel had jumped at the chance. At the moment she could hear the boys arguing in Frank's office, though she couldn't understand everything they were saying, most of it being muffled by the closed door. She shook her head in bemusement; at least work was rarely dull with those two in charge.
"I knew agreeing to this article was a bad idea," Frank glared at his younger brother. When they had been approached by the magazine about including the Hardy Detective Agency, not to be confused with Hardy and Radley, in a series on up and coming businesses Frank had resisted. He didn't mind publicity, really he didn't, but the magazine in question was known for fluff pieces and he wasn't sure a profile of their business in its pages would really be helpful. Actually he was very much afraid it would be detrimental to business. How could anybody take them seriously when they were being written about in a regional version of People magazine.
"It'll bring attention to the agency," Joe said, not for the first time. He really didn't see what the big deal was. So the magazine wasn't dedicated to law enforcement, it would help get their names out there. More importantly it would help them break away from their father's shadow. Joe was proud of his father and he definitely recognized the doors Fenton Hardy's name had opened for them but he was 24 and his brother 25, it was time for them to prove themselves on their own merits. He, for one, didn't want to spend the rest of his life being known only as Fenton Hardy's son; given respect more for his father's name than his own accomplishments. He thought Frank wanted the same thing.
"Yeah Joe, but what kind of attention?" Frank closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose in hopes of staving off the headache that was rapidly forming. "You knew I didn't want an article on us in that magazine but you talked me into it. You promised Joe, promised, that the interview would stick to the agency and what our professional goals are."
Joe ducked his head. "I didn't know they were going to ask personal questions Frank."
Frank turned an incredulous stare upon his younger brother.
Joe flinched. "What was I supposed to do? She asked, it would have been rude not to answer."
"Oh and I suppose the fact that she was pretty had nothing to do with it? They sure knew what they were doing when they sent her to conduct the interview." Frank grabbed a bottle of water form the small fridge in his office and flopped into his chair. "Why didn't you just tell her that we wanted to focus the interview on the business?" Frank held up his hand, "No, don't bother I already know the answer. A pretty girl asked about your personal life and you just couldn't wait to let her know you were single and looking. That was bad enough Joe, since it was supposed to be an interview about the business, but why in the hell did you have to tell her we were both single and looking?"
"Well we are," Joe defended, crossing his arms over his chest.
"No Joe, you are," Frank countered.
"I know you're not seeing anybody Frank."
"I didn't say I was."
"Jesus Frank, you're only 25, live a little!"
"My life is just fine the way it is little brother."
"I don't get you Frank, I really don't get you. Most guys your age would be thrilled to have their pictures in a magazine, getting attention from women, but not you. No, my brother would rather act like some dried up old man than a young guy in the prime of his life." Shaking his head Joe headed for the door. He stopped with his hand on the handle and looked back at his brother. "Tell you what Frank if you get any women trying to get your attention because of that article feel free to send them my way."
Joe was gone before Frank had a chance to reply. He wasn't a monk, no matter what Joe might think. He was as interested in women as any other red-blooded male he just preferred to meet them the old-fashioned way, not by essentially taking out a personal ad in a magazine. The article would appear in the next issue of the magazine which wouldn't go on sale for another two weeks; maybe he could talk the editor into leaving out the personal information.
A/N: I know there wasn't any angst, violence, etc. in this chapter but we will get there eventually. In the meantime I hope y'all will enjoy the fun aspects.
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